Tonight at 6pm, 70 people gathered at Seattle Central Community College and marched through Capitol Hill behind a banner that read "You Can't Evict An Idea, Occupy Everything". This demonstration was called for on the news that Seattle Central Community College and the state were filing an emergency ban on Occupy Seattle's encampment at the college.
The march ended at a warehouse on Union and 10th Avenue East, and the doors were opened to the excited crowd and flyers were handed out. Once inside, occupiers immediately began cleaning up the space, stringing lights, hauling in furniture, food and supplies and unfurling banners. As of 8pm, the cop cars that were parked across the street surveilling had left. There are plans for a dj later tonight, and an assembly to decide further what this occupation will look like. We invite you to help us hold this location indefinitely!
from the flyer [PDF]:
Across the country, homes and buildings sit empty while we struggle to pay rent, avoid foreclosure, or stay off the streets. Once the Union Cultural Center, this building was emptied earlier this year to make way for yet another luxury apartment building. Where this space once housed dancing, it is now a box of stale air. According to the Capitol Hill Seattle blog, it is set to be demolished next week. We must wonder how long it will sit as a chainlink-guarded gravel lot. They wish to tear it down; we wish to breathe life back into it. We welcome you to our new social center.
Gentrification has left Capitol Hill a graveyard of half-finished condos and barren lots. Just a few blocks from here, residents of the Marion Building apartments were displaced in 2008 by developers. Rather than comply with his orders, the final resident shot himself just twelve hours before his eviction and set the building on fire. Three years later, the building stands untouched, save for the scorch-marks and the graffiti. These wounds are everywhere around us, and they run through our flesh, too.
In the face of this everyday misery, we have chosen what many have taken up before: the struggle to reclaim our lives. Whether out of necessity or as a political statement, squats all over the world have served as crucial social spaces, as oases in the isolating desert of life under capitalism. There is no more true public space left, so we must take it. This is not a protest or simply a response to the current economic ‘crisis’ (for we saw it coming all along), this is a response to the crisis of economics.
This is an occupation.
In the face of eviction from parks and squares, Occupiers everywhere have begun to seize bank-owned property, abandoned city buildings, universities, and houses in foreclosure. Already in the Central District, autonomous occupiers have squatted a partially built house on 23rd Avenue and made it their home. “There are homeless people. There are empty houses. That makes no sense.”
But the logic of capitalism is the logic of false scarcity: while billions go hungry, food rots on the shelves of grocery stores and crops are destroyed to drive up prices. What if we stopped living in fear?
The possibilities for what we might create in this liberated space are endless. We have many needs and every intention of fulfilling them. In the short term, this might look like a lending library, a kitchen, a theatre, a clinic, a meeting hall, a childcare center, a dormitory, a free store. Taken to its logical extent, this and other social spaces could be a step in the direction of an autonomous life, cutting ourselves free from the noose of rent, wage slavery, this prison world, and the police that maintain it all.
Welcome to our new center of resistance. We occupy this building for ourselves, and in solidarity with our loved ones in the Oakland Commune, Chapel Hill, Cairo; in the squats of Barcelona and Amsterdam; with the Duwamish people who were ousted from this very land a century ago. We do this to conjure into being, however briefly, an entirely different world.
Let us be clear: this is only the beginning, a hint of what might come. If we are arrested, if we are removed from this building with guns in our faces and our hands bound behind our backs, it is neither unexpected nor a sign of failure. It is instead a sign that we constitute a real threat to capitalism and to the very concept of private property. There is no other option left but to recognize which side we are on. We say this not as martyrs, but as those who have chosen to live.
Friends, join us! We have our whole lives to gain.